Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sumeria's Sons Flash Fiction: Meeting a True Blood #SumeriasSons

As I had warned last Tuesday, today and next Tuesday will have a couple of flash fictions in place of Assassin's Retirement. No worries, the next chapter for Assassin's Retirement will be up on Tuesday, July 3rd. In the meantime, enjoy some Sumeria's Sons antics. 

Today, we have a side story about a few of the children from Sumeria's Sons. The lead up to this flash fiction starts in Dreams of the Forgotten. Theo Sullivan, Tristan's ex-mate and twin flame, had passed away at the end of Songs of the Earth. By Lycan law, the his dependents are Tristan's responsibility. Theo had 3 children and a mate who come to live near Tristan and Ushna. On a visit to the mayor of Clearwater, Tristan and Ushna happened upon a fight in progress. Justus and his sisters, Neoma and Dawn (all three 8 years old), were caught in an alley by a couple of twelve year old bullies, Ira and Marek. The fight was broken up and Tristan discovered that Theo's mate had abandoned the children. Tristan and Ushna take the children in. Tristan then scheduled a meeting with Ira and Marek's parent to get down to the bottom of the bullying. It was discovered that Ira's parents were a part of nefarious organization and Ira's father was a True Blood posing as a Lycan. (True Bloods were direct descendants of Enkidu, one of the Lycan's ancestors.) Ira's father was a real ass, angry with Ira for asking for asylum from his parents, and he taunted Ira about whether Ira would be a Lycan or True Blood prey.

In Dragon's Eye, Tristan was saved by five True Bloods. In gratitude, Tristan brings them back to the ranch, hoping to learn more about the True Bloods. Ira and Marek came to the ranch to spend time with Justus and his sisters... There is where this short story starts.


This takes place between the end of Dragon's Eye and the beginning of Releasing Chaos. Enjoy!

Copyright Lexi Ander

Meeting a True Blood

"They're coming!" Dawn called excitedly from the front of the house.

Justus wiped his wet hands on the dish towel before handing it to Neoma. Then he glanced at Neoma's mother, Mary Jane, waiting for her dismissal. Ira and Marek were coming to stay the week. Justus and his sisters had scrambled to complete all their chores so that when the boys arrived they didn't have to wait to play.

"Good job," Mary Jane said with the ghost of a smile. "Now, go and have fun."

Justus ran out of the kitchen before she could even finish speaking. Upon seeing Justus and Neoma leaving the kitchen, Dawn jumped up and down as she opened the front door. Justus followed, close on her heels. A maroon sedan came down the driveway and he could barely contain his excitement as Mr. Gillander parked the car.

Marek and Ira piled out of the backseat, nearly ending up in a pile in their hurried rush, their eagerness palpable.

"Hello, Mr. Gillander. Mary Jane is in the kitchen," Dawn said as she ran by, reminding Justus of his manners.

Skidding to a halt in front of Marek's dad, he said, "Hey, Mr. Gillander, thanks for bringing them."

Mr. Gillander chuckled and messed Justus's hair before he bent so Neoma could claim her customary hug. "Don't get into too much mischief," he warned before heading into the house.

After Ira's parents had been arrested for treason, Marek's family had taken Ira in. They treated Ira as if he was their own. As Uncle Tristan had ruled, Ira and Marek spent time with Justus and his sisters which started a tentative relationship. Months later, they were all friends and Ira and Marek still visited on a regular basis.

When Uncle Tristan had heard that Ira and Marek turned twelve but hadn't had their first change, he visited the Gillander's. Justus had gone with Uncle Tristan, carefully watching as Uncle Tristan interact with his friends. Like other Lycans, Justus sensed the output of raw alpha power that rolled off Uncle Tristan in soothing waves. Justus had met several other alphas, but none exuded as much energy and his uncle who was the future king of the Lycans, Alpha of all alphas. Except perhaps Corey, but Corey somehow hid his essence causing others to believe he wasn't as powerful. Justus desperately wanted to learn how to do the same one day.

Uncle Tristan had gathered Ira and Marek close, the Gillander's looking on with worried expressions.

"Not all pups change when they turn twelve," Uncle Tristan had murmured. He held each boy by their neck, his power rising.

Justus sensed this uncle probing his friends. He wished he could see, to know how Uncle Tristan wielded his power, wanting the ability to do the same when he grew up.

Uncle Tristan made a small noise and smiled. "They are both very close. Why don't they come stay at the ranch for a week or so? They can join the monthly hunt and, if they change before then, we don't have to worry about a human seeing them."

That meeting had happened a couple days ago, and Justus had been looked forward to having the extra company. The mood of the adults could be intense at times, causing a constant itch that urged him to run in his wolf form. But he ignored the prodding, refusing to get too far away from Randy. After Randy had disappeared for over six months, the nagging fear his Twin Flame would disappear again kept Justus awake most nights.

"Stop daydreaming and come on!" Neoma grabbed and pulled Justus along.

Ira, Marek, and Dawn were running to the hay barn. He and Neoma hurried to catch up. The five of them spent the rest of the afternoon playing, trying not to make a nuisance of themselves and garnering the unwanted attention of the adults. Justus did sneak away a few times to check on Randy, but he spent the majority of the day outside with his friend. When evening rolled around, Justus fell into the blanket fort erected in the corner of Randy's room so exhausted that he slept the night through without dreaming.

When the next morning rolled around, the five of them ate in the warrior's cafeteria with Christie and Mary Jane. Justus was eating quickly but not so fast that he was admonished. He was excited to get back outside for another day of playing. The air of the afeteria was filled with the low murmur of conversation from the warriors and magi. A sweet scent wafted through the room and the talking died down until it ceased completely. Every Lycan sat up and glanced toward the door where the True Bloods, the five Cimmaron brothers, entered. Gradually, conversation started again, but the wolves remained watchful.

"Who are they?" Ira asked, his black hair flopping into his amber eyes. He sniffed the air and Justus waited for his reaction before answering.

When Ira only seemed curious, he replied, "They are the True Blood royals, princes I think. Ace and his brothers saved Uncle Tristan from being captured."

"True Blood's like… like, my dad?" Ira asked, his hand trembling as he put his fork down on his plate.

Justus frowned, knowing what Ira asked and wanting to disagree. The Cimmaron's were different from the nasty man and woman who'd raised Ira.

Marek leaned in, his intent gaze on Ira. "Your dad was a jerk and a traitor to the tribe," he replied softly.

Justus glanced around to see if anyone was listening to their conversation. Dawn and Neoma were talking animatedly to Mary Jane and Christie. The warriors sitting around them were paying more attention to the Cimarron's than to what they were eating.

"Yeah, but, he said I would—"

Justus made a negative noise. "Uncle Tristan told you that you would be a wolf. It's one of Shamash's blessings; our wolves will always breed true."

"But what if being True Blood is the reason why I haven't changed?" Ira said in a rush, fear in his voice. "I'm only half Lycan. What if—"

"Uncle Tristan said—"

"But what if he's wrong?"

Uncle Tristan wasn't but Justus couldn't find the words that would reassure his friend. Instead, he turned his attention back to his food. He wished he could soothe Ira but had a feeling that the only thing to help Ira was to finally change. Then he would see he had nothing to worry about.

After he finished eating, Justus made a plate for Randy and ran it back to the house. He would have stayed but Stan ushered him out, urging him to go play since Randy still slept. Stepping out the back door, Justus saw the Cimarron brothers were following the trail that led to the river. The pasture running along the south side of the waterway was where the wolves ran when they needed out. Uncle Tristan made sure the horses and cattle were kept at the opposite end of the ranch so there would be no accidental chasing of the cows. "No use tempting mischief," Uncle Tristan had said.

Justus was ready to bound off the porch and find his friends when he caught a glimpse of Ira sneaking along behind the Cimarron brothers. Worried, Justus followed, not bothering to hide himself. Ira was too focused on the Cimarrons to notice he was being tracked.

The trail bisected the grassy pasture. The land transitioned from plains to colorful, red dirt arroyos and deep washes the closer to the river. The banks were shielded by a thick copse of trees that followed the edge of the water that seemed to swallow the Cimarrons as they crossed into the shade. Ira hesitated at the edge, and Justus hurried to catch up deciding he should find out why Ira wanted to spy on the True Bloods. But before he could call out or reach his friend, Ira plunged into the foliage. Justus rolled his eyes at the loud non-stealthy sounds Ira mane. Really, could Ira announce his presence any louder? If the Cimarrons didn't know they were being followed, they did now.

Under the boughs shading Justus from the sun, the brush was thick enough he couldn't see too far ahead. But following the tracks wasn't hard and something Justus was good at. When he finally caught up to his friend, Justus stopped at the unexpected sight. Strangely, Ira wasn't hiding behind a tree or peeking around it, but had his forehead pressed into the rough bark of an old oak. Purposely making noise so he wouldn't startle Ira, Justus cautiously approached.

His keen hearing picked up other noises. Squirrels jabbering in at the higher boughs. The trickle of water over river rock. The low murmur of voices. Justus scented the warriors who were tasked with keeping an eye on the Cimarrons. But there were other barely discernible sounds… He glanced back and caught a quick glimpse of a white T-shirt that was out of place in the foliage of greens and browns. Cowboys who reported solely to Randy who had volunteered to stayed behind to guard him all those months ago hadn't stopped watching over him even though Randy had returned. Justus always felt shy when he considered approaching one of them. From what Justus understood, those men were related to Randy and very loyal, but Justus wasn't sure what they thought about him.

Pushing his wayward thoughts aside, he refocused on his friend. Ira's eyes were squeezed shut and he breathed in soft nervous pants. Beyond Ira, the Cimarron brothers could clearly see Justus and Ira. They warily watched from a small clearing next to the water. Justus sensed Ira's pain and he wanted to help. Gathering his courage, Justus moved past Ira and approached the five True Bloods. He hadn't spoken to them before, so asking them for a favor felt strange. He was sure it was somehow bad manners, but he still hoped they would hear him out.

Wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans, he approached Ace, the oldest of the five brothers. They said nothing when Justus stopped in front of them. For a second, he faltered, not sure how to start. His dad would smile so Justus put on his best grin. Uncle Tristan would introduce himself. Justus held out his hand. Ace took it, showing dimples when Ace grinned back.

"Hi, I'm Justus Sullivan and that is my friend, Ira." Feeling the need to be honest, Justus pointed to the location of the two hiding wolves. "And in case you didn't know, that is Helios and Robert." He pretended he didn't hear the exasperated animal groans. Then he hooked his thumb in the opposite direction. "Over there are a couple of the ranch hands who followed me."

Ace's smile widened. "Is that so?"

Justus nodded, considering how to proceed once the easy part was done. "None of us meant to intrude on your privacy. Well, Helios and Robert did."

Ace's deep brown eyes held a glint of amusement, as if he was laughing even though he still only grinned. "Already knew that."

"Ah… I was hoping you could help me out. Well, not me but my friend, Ira." Ace's gaze flicked to where Ira stood, who now looked as if he wanted to hide on the other side of the tree trunk. Ira's eyes were huge, silently asking Justus what in the world was he doing. He waved for Ira to approach which Ira ignored.

"What sort of help does your friend need?" Ace asked, concern diming his smile.

"His dad is a True Blood and his mom is a Lycan. Mr. Weatherby was real mean to Ira the last time he saw Ira, and he told Ira lies. Could Ira see you shift so that he'll know…" Justus didn't know exactly what Ira needed to know because Ira hadn't said. Instinct told Justus that would help Ira if he saw and interacted with Ace.

Ace motioned for Ira to approach. Justus refrained from rolling his eyes when Ira came forward. He could have come when Justus motioned, but Justus refrained from saying anything to his friend.

"Have you seen a True Blood's natural form?" Ace asked.

"Natural form?" Ira squeaked.

"The father of our people, Enkidu, his first form was an animal. He lived in the wild and ran with herds of ancient elk and deer though he was still different from them. Singular. Later he became… almost human."

Ira moved closer, his eyes locked on Ace as he drank down every word Ace spoke. "Almost human? What does that mean?"

"His feet were hooves and his haunches weren't like human legs but furred and thickly muscled. He also kept his curl of horns." Ace grinned when Ira looked down at Ace's feet. Justus looked too, curious. "The human in us has given his descendants human legs and feet. But a very few of my people have horn nubs in their human form."

Justus's eyes suddenly began to burn and he closed them, pressing his thumb and finger to them as he tried to figure out where the burst of overwhelming sorrow had come from. He could almost imagine running alongside the thundering herd, hear the rumble of hundreds of hooves as they moved across grassy plains. What would it feel like to be in sync in such surroundings?

An old and weary voice inside him whispered, "Wonderful."

When he opened his eyes, he brushed at a tear that tried to escape. Neither Ira nor Ace noticed he struggled with an emotion he was hesitant to name. Instead, Ira had reached up and parted his hair, revealing two raised nubs.

"Like these?" Ira's voice wavered.

Ace and his brothers stepped forward, a couple of them grinned with delight.

"Alpha Janick," Ira stammered, "says I smell like wolf, that when I change, I will be a Lycan, but I have these. And I'm half True Blood through my father. And I don't know… I'm afraid of what I'll become."

Ira didn't pull away when Ace touched the exposed baby horn. "You will be you," Ace said when he stepped back.

"What?" Ira's large eyes shimmered with unshed tears.

Justus grinned. Those were the words he had trouble finding. Ira would still be the same person no matter what. No matter what form Ira took after, Justus would still be Ira's friend.

 When Ace saw Justus smiling, he nodded. Returning his gaze to Ira, Ace said, "Why do you have to be one or the other? You carry the blood of two regal lines and you will probably bear the markings of both."

"So I'm going to be a wolf?" Ira recovered the knobs with his hair.

"I do smell wolf on you, but I also scent how you are also kin."

If possible, Ira looked more miserable than he had before. "But when I change, where will I belong? I don't want to be alone."

Ace's frown was full of concern. "Do you not have a place now?" He glanced at Justus and Justus nodded because Ira wasn't an outcast.

"But when I change, I might be different." Ira worried his lip with his teeth.

"Ira," Justus said to get his friend's attention. "Your dad told you lies. Marek and the Gillanders love you no matter what. Neoma and Dawn and I will always call you friend. We won't leave you either. And Uncle Tristan has claimed you as part of his tribe. We all belong to him." If Justus saw Mr. Weatherby again, he was going to bite him on the butt for making Ira doubt everything.

"And you are also a brother to the True Bloods," Ace added.

"You don't know me," Ira said incredulously.

"I don't have to in order to welcome you into my circle. In our culture, we often are invited to the first change of young from families we aren't familiar with. They are added to our personal collective, connecting the families together." When Ira looked confused, Ace said, "It's something similar to being a godfather. I can smell that your change is near and I would be honored to be a witness, thereby connecting you to my family."

Ira's bottom lip trembled. "You would do that?"

Ace smiled fondly at Ira. Instead of answering the question, he asked, "Would you like to see me change?"

Ira nodded mutely. Justus stepped away, but not because he felt like an outsider. On the contrary, even though this bonding moment was between Ira and Ace, Justus already felt connected, anticipating what would come, as if he'd been waiting for many lifetimes to see the form of a True Blood. If not for the dreams he'd been having for a year, Justus would have thought he was going crazy and be tempted to tell Uncle Tristan. When he slept, Justus was somebody else, living in another time and place. The person was like him, but not. Over the last few weeks, Justus was beginning to understand who exactly he dreamed about.

Sitting at the base of the old tree, Justus joined by Helios and Robert, both still in their wolf form. After they laid on either side of him, Justus sank his hands into their soft fur, needing the soothing sensation, the grounding their touch brought.

Ace and his brothers disrobed and changed without preamble. The scent of wild magic grew strong as short fawn-colored fur cover their bodies. The joints of their legs suggested they could run on all four limbs even though they continued to stand upright. Justus recalled his bestiary anatomy lessons. What most people assumed was a reversed knee joint was actually a heel and ankle. Ace's hands shortened, his fingertips becoming blunt and square. The True Blood form was very different from Justus's wolf, but he saw graceful lines and a body that proclaimed Ace could run for hours and not be short of breath.

Closing his eyes, Justus inhaled. The scent of prey stronger now the Cimarrons had changed, but instead of calling his wolf to hunt, a protectiveness surged through him. When he opened his eyes, Ace and his brothers were staring at him. Their faces were flat, their nose short and triangular. Beneath that, their lips were thin and dark brown against their golden pelt.

"What do you smell?" Ace asked, nose tilted as he softly snuffled the air.

Justus looked at Ira, chagrined because he'd forgotten his friend was still there. This whole encounter had been for Ira's sake, but Justus had gleaned something for himself. He spoke the truth that had been buried in his soul. "They smell like home." His wolf chuffed in agreement.

Ace cocked his head to the side and grinned, showing square, blunt teeth. "Then I greet you, brother wolf."

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

What's on the Reading Radar #TBR #Wishlist

What am I doing? Writing blog posts for Caledonia Destiny's release. Proofing. And Proofing. Checking ARC formatting.

When I'm not doing that, I have been working on Assassin's Retirement. I need to hurry and catch up. Get several chapters under my belt before the end of the month.

For the reading list, I've been rereading again until last night. I do this because I can't afford to get ensnared into a new world when I'm super busy. It's distracting if the story is super engaging, especially when I have to leave a book in the middle because I don't have time to finish it. Example: last night I read a new to me author. The book is the first one on the list below. I really, really enjoyed the story but it stopped on a cliffhanger. I decided to get the next book and read until the emotional turmoil was mostly resolved -- hence, find a stopping point. I didn't find a great stopping point and the emotional turmoil only went up. When I forced myself to bed I dreamed about the book and then four hours later I woke thinking about the book. I ended getting up and working in order to take my mind off it because I couldn't sleep. That is why I reread when super busy. Distracting with a capital D. I'm going to try something on the lighter side tonight to sort of get my thought process off the unresolved book. (I read the reviews and the second book has a cliffhanger, too. I don't know when the third book will be out so I'm putting that read on hold.)

Now for this week's wish list...

Title: My Broken One
Series: True Mates series
Author(s): G.L. Stiles
Length: 201 pages
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Contemporary Alpha/Beta/Omega World / Step/Adopted Brothers / Snark / Angst / Cliffhanger / Bisexual / 

Note: I have a hard time getting into contemporary Alpha/Bets/Omega worlds. But this sucked me right in.

Blurb: With the human race divided into secondary gender designations -- alpha, beta, and omega -- Matthew Le'Marte's future looks bleak as the only senior in his high school who still hasn't presented. Add to that the occasional riot over sudden-onset omega heats and knothead alphas thinking they own the universe, and Matt is pretty sick of this whole puberty thing. But getting beat up by alphas, pitied by omegas and ignored by the rest of the world doesn't even top the list of Matt's problems. Also attending Matt's high school is a sweet, handsome, unfairly perfect alpha named Teddy, and Matt has been in love with him for a literal lifetime. 

Teddy is also Matt's step brother. Things can't really get any worse for Matt from this point.

Which is of course when Matt finally presents. Somehow, it doesn't end up making his life any easier. He just hopes to get out of his adolescence without Teddy ever knowing how he truly feels; that despite a one in a million chance, Teddy might be Matt's true mate. And true mates aren't always reciprocated. Matt can handle a lot of disappointment, but losing Teddy would be the one blow that breaks him.



Title: Blessed Curses
Series: 
Author(s): Madeleine Ribbon
Length: 
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Gay / 

Note: 


Blurb: Though he’s a sorcerer with a talent for creating blessings, David can do very little with any other magic. He works the night shift for his cousin’s magical supply shop because he’s cursed—his brother did it when they were kids—and now people can’t stand to be near him since he inspires irrational fear. Many experts have tried to remove it, but the curse has proven completely binding. Then David meets Vaughn at his brother’s wedding.

Vaughn works for the magical enforcers, picking apart complex curses and making sure sorcerers stay within the law. He loves solving supposedly irreversible curses, though his interest in David quickly turns into something more. David, however, is too afraid of getting hurt if he lets Vaughn get past his prickly outer shell...



Title: Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun
Series: The Guardians of Gaia, 2
Author(s): Ari McKay
Length: 
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Urban Fantasy / Shifters / Vampires / Paranormal / Gay /

Note: 


Blurb: Tyger tyger, burning bright…

As theriomorphs in the service of Gaia, Tyr Gustavson and his lover Aaron fought against the vampires aiding the Third Reich during WWII. But even the fierceness of Tyr’s tiger form couldn’t save Aaron from being torn apart when a mission went horribly wrong. Lost in his pain, Tyr remained feral until he was unwillingly recalled to Gaia’s service seventy years later.

In the forests of the night...

When fighter pilot Adam Carson’s plane was shot down, he thought the worst that could happen was being sent to a Nazi prison camp. Little did he know there were other monsters in the shadows, and one of them wanted to claim him. But refusing Elizabeth Bathory had a price. Adam was turned against his will and trapped in a coffin as punishment for his resistance.

What immortal hand or eye…

While hunting ghouls, Tyr and his colleagues discover Adam’s prison. Believing he could be an asset, Marielle Du Lac frees him. Adam joins the team and is drawn to Tyr, despite Tyr’s hatred of vampires. When Tyr rejects Adam out of fear, Adam accepts a suicidal mission to find Thrace, the original nosferatu. If their desperate plan works, the theriomorphs could destroy not only Elizabeth, but the sire of all vampires as well. But if it fails, they could unleash a force leading to the destruction of them all… and perhaps of Gaia herself.



Title: His Wicked Love
Series: Spells and Steel
Author(s): Mila Bensen
Length: 202 pages
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Fantasy / Gay /

Note: 


Blurb: As a warlock, Corbin trusts only himself and his master, Nereza. When that master is stolen from him by the kingdom that has long terrorized his kind, vengeance is the only answer. He has traded everything for the power to avenge her, and nothing will stop him. Being arrested is a minor setback. The paladin who arrested him is a bigger obstacle—but not even the heavily muscled, devastatingly gorgeous man who managed to slip past his defenses can keep him from his dark purpose. 

Leonid, a paladin of Sithia, obeys the Archmage’s orders without question. It’s the least he can do to make up for his failures in the past. So when he stumbles on a warlock breaking into a Crown outpost, he doesn’t hesitate to arrest him. Between the warlock’s teasing touches, captivating eyes, and heart-stopping smile, it will be all Leonid can do to deliver him for judgment without yielding to temptation.

But all is not well in Sithia, and neither man can face the chaos alone. If they cannot learn to trust each other, neither will live long enough to see his mission completed.

His Wicked Love is a stand-alone M/M fantasy romance with a happily ever after and no cliffhanger.


Title: Broken Accord
Series: Forged in Blood, 2
Author(s): Holly Evans
Length: 172 pages
Publisher: Chaos Fox (April 20, 2018)

Genre: Slow Burn Romance / Urban Fantasy / Gay / 

Note: 


Blurb: The work of a Guardian is never done.

I didn’t even get a week off before the goddess called us in for our next assignment. Witchlings, none more than fifteen years old, have been going missing, and we had to find out why. That meant I had to deal with witches, and the memories of my childhood that came with it.

I have to work with Alasdair to track down the missing teens and save the day whilst trying to navigate the treacherous waters of our fledgling relationship. Knowing that the goddess made us for each other doesn’t erase my past and all of the scars that come with it. Falling in love is the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

Of course, nothing’s ever simple. The missing witchlings are just beginning of a dark path that I have no choice but to walk down. The supernal world is fracturing, dangerous politics are bubbling beneath the surface. One false move could ignite everything. Sometimes, if we want to save the world, we have to get our hands dirty.



Title: Sacred Band
Series: 
Author(s): Jospeh D. Carriker, Jr.
Length: 380 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (March 19, 2017)

Genre: Romantic Elements / Superheros / Paranormal / Age Gap /

Note: 


Blurb: The golden age of heroes is decades past. The government could not condone vigilantism and now metahumans are just citizens, albeit citizens with incredible talent, who are assisted in achieving normal lives (including finding good fits for their talents employment-wise) by a federal agency. Rusty may have been a kid during that glorious age but he remembers his idol, Sentinel, saving lives and righting wrongs — until he was outed in an incredible scandal that forced him into isolation. When a gay friend of Rusty living in the Ukraine goes missing, Rusty is forced to acknowledge that while the world’s governments claim that super teams are outdated and replaced by legal law enforcement, there are simply some places where the law doesn’t protect everyone — so he manages to find and recruit Sentinel to help him find his friend. But the disappearance of the friend is merely one move in a terrible plot against queer youth. A team of supers may be old-fashioned, but this may be a battle requiring some incredible reinforcements.


Title: The Last Sun
Series: (The Tarot Sequence)
Author(s): KD Edwards
Length: 367 pages
Publisher:  Pyr (June 12, 2018)

Genre: Gay Protagonist / Fantasy / 

Note: This is also on audio which I might use instead.


Blurb: In this debut novel and series starter, the last member of a murdered House searches for a missing nobleman, and uncovers clues about his own tortured past.

Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment's missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.

With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam's relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune's Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family's death and the torments of his past?



Title: The Necromancer's Reckoning
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerers, 3
Author(s): SJ Himes
Length: 340 pages
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Urban Fantasy / Vampires / Dragon sidekicks / Gay / 

Note: 


Blurb: Every action has consequences.

For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.

Until now.

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.

If found guilty, Angel's apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel's mate refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.

The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.

Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a graverobbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town...a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.

This is book 3 of a series, and the previous books should be read first for full enjoyment. Trigger Warnings are on the Copyright Page and can be seen using the Look Inside feature or by downloading a sample of this book.


Title: The Hunter
Series: 
Author(s): Jordan Reece
Length: 322 pages
Publisher:

Genre: Romance / Steampunk / Gay / 

Note: 


Blurb: It begins with a mysterious package in the mail . . . 


There isn’t much excitement to be found in the small farm town that Elario Repse calls home. But when a letter arrives from his deceased uncle, begging him to deliver a dangerous dragon’s eye to a man named Westen at’Inamon, Elario has no choice. With the military in pursuit, he flees across the country of Phaleros.

By the time he reaches his destination, he has a new problem. The dragon’s eye has attached itself to Elario, allowing him to see through time and even read minds. Westen has no idea how to separate them, but he does know the Crown will stop at nothing to kill Elario for bearing it. A dragon’s eye is the key to bringing down the greedy, corrupt upper class of Phaleros, if only Westen can keep Elario alive long enough to use it.

The attraction between them is undeniable. Westen is the most handsome man that Elario has ever seen, yet his quirky, secretive personality runs hot and cold. Still, he will do anything to protect Elario. They are falling in love at the very worst time . . . and with peril around every corner, there is no guarantee of a happy ending.


Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pact Days: V'Saar #ValespianPact


Welcome to Thursday's Pact Days! Today, we have the dreaded V'Saar.

The V'Saar are the big bad in the Valespian Pact. They are basically the destroyer of worlds, leaving extinct species in their wake.


Enjoy!  

A couple of side notes: For a list of species that have been posted so far, see the The People of Valespia page. I'm placing these in alphabetical order so I won't unintentionally place importance on any specie. I will leave off information on the species that will spoil future books. My standard sheet has the same categories for all species. So there will be blank categories just because that species didn't need them.

Species: V'Saar
Planet: Xoneran (Queen Isolt); Ranux (Queen Orla)
Other races on the planet:
Planetary Terrain:
Capitol: Xeyria (Queen Isolt); Therth (Queen Orla)
Country:
Patron Ryo Pardeep:

Description: Thick armor plating over most of their bodies. Three sets of eyes. An extendable lower jaw of razor-sharp teeth. Two sets of arms and legs. The lower set of arms can be used as legs = 8 limbs. The beady eyes can roll but not blink. The head can twist eerily. A tail that curves over its body ends in a stinger. Spindly throat (the fragility a deception). The face is comprised of hard angels and has an oblong countenance. The underside of the scorpionlike tail is covered with tiny hairs that detects movement and allows the V'Saar to attack in absolute darkness.

They secrete gelatinous mucus from pores on their exoskeleton that allows them to be dropped from planetary orbit into atmosphere without burning upon entry.

The stinger hold a compound that converts the victim, making them a tool for the V'Saar and controlled by the V'Saar. The converted hybrid only survives 40 hours as humanoid, then they begin transformation into a V'Saar. If they are taken away from the bugs, and the venom flushed from their system, they will not become bugs but will be sensitive to the proximity of the bugs. The victims keep their abilities but are sterile.

V'Saar manipulate and cannibalize, leaving only carnage and destruction in their wake. Live to create havoc, swooping into swallow down despair. They devour worlds, stamp out life, enslaving those they can use until the usefulness is gone.

V'Saar enter the region with scouting parties. They would solicit help from locals to bring more of the hive over with false promises.

Diplomats wear three blue horizontal strips over their hard-plated noses. One had 2 thick white bands circling the abdomen near the tail (emissaries)

Submissive posture: folded up, legs tucked under the body as close to their form their flexibility allows. The scorpionlike tail curled in upon itself. This is how they entreaty. The posture is supposed to be non-threatening.

Atizen ate his own venom.

"They only know violence and hate. They manipulate and cannibalize, leaving only carnage and description in their wake. They live to create havoc and then swoop in to swallow the despair. There is no rehabilitating them they devour worlds, stamping out any life and enslaving those they can use until that use is gone." ~Alpha

"You will not win against us. We are many. You are broken with your opinions and debates. We are one in our resolve. We are one in our action. While you scramble in your confusion, we will subjugate you. Some will be out pets and others our cattle." ~Atizen



Common Occupation: drones, warriors, trackers

Government Systems: hive queen

Current Leader: Queen Isolt; Queen Orla

Council of Neighn of Member:  n/a

Allies: n/a

Star System: Arthro Galaxy; Horkos Star System (Queen Isolt); Palioxis Nu System (Queen Orla);

Other planets occupied by species:

Military Leader: Atizan (Queen Isolt)

Hunters: huge massive beasts that can easily plow through a throng of V'Saar, plasma rolls off their outer shell like water. Bellows. Triple set of eyes, and a nose. Screeches. Four legs. Long scorpionlike stinger arching over the armor-plated back. Stinger the size of Zeus's forearm. Pincers. The sting of its venom enthralls, cause the person to be addicted. On the underside is a line in between the armor plating that is the weak spot. The line of bristlelike hair on the underside allows them to see in the dark. At the Y is the bug's weak point.

Cultural names and terms specific to species:
"clicking voice"; sharp angry clicks tattooed a peculiar rhythm.; chittering, movement = skittering, cackling.

Queen – surviving females, the center of the hives

W'Resk – Hunters, trackers of unparalleled talent, much larger than normal warriors/fighters

I'olon – drone, take care of the queen, all domestic duties

S'aae – fighters whose sting converts victims to V'Saar hybrids. Are not allowed to use unless they are in a fight and need more soldiers.

T'yrdo – fighters whose sting controls the victims. These make up the majority of the V'Saar fighting force.

Hybrid – sterile beings that live only about 40 months after being stung. They keep their knowledge and skills that the V'Saar will use to their benefit.

Thank  you for stopping by and reading!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter 20 #blogstory #Gentleman


Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement! Today we have Chapter 20 where there is still some good butt kicking going on, just not the destructive type. Zane has to decide if he's going to have mercy on Ella or not.

I need to give you a heads up for next two coming week. With the finishing of Caledonia Destiny's edits and now I'm prepping it for the cover reveal, book blast, and release, I keep putting off finishing the next chapter of Assassins Retirement. Things have been hectic and I still have an unknown number of articles to write for the book blast. I'm guessing perhaps 15 but I might need more, I don't know at the moment. I have to have everything to the promoter by the 18th... *glances at the calendar* which means I need to my ass in gear. So!! There is a very good chance that I won't get a chance to write on Assassin's Retirement this week. To take the pressure off myself--this blog story is meant to be fun for me and not something that causes stress--I'm going to take a two week blog-writing vacation. I'll see about scheduling a couple of flash fictions that I wrote last year to put on Tuesdays, but Assassin's Retirement will be back on July 3rd which seems far away, but believe it or not, it's only 2 weeks. 

I apologize for the inconvenience. My writing/editing plate is so full right now I won't be able to do Assassin's Retirement just if I tried to squeeze it in.

But no worries for today! Here's Chapter 20!



Chapter Twenty – Mercy

"Just kill her, Zane," Skyld said much too calmly. "We can take care of this fake scion before he hurts anyone else and hunt down any information about you the oracle has shared with others."

Cord made a choked noise, reminding Zane they had way too many witnesses. Normally, it wouldn't be an issue. Before his retirement, he would have dispatched Ella and everyone else on his property, except Skyld of course. But now things were messy. Alonzo was his and Zane was a bit surprised by his possessiveness when he thought about Alonzo. He also liked Crimson Comet, despite their grumpy, asshole members.  And hadn't he decided he would help Cord before he even left their house last night? Had that been only twelve hours ago?

Besides, Zane had questions. Boy, he wanted some very detailed answers. He thought Skyld could answer some of them well enough, but still. He weighed the pros and cons of eliminating a source when he didn't know exactly what he was dealing with. He do some research to see what he could find on this organization, I.O.N., but the more he thought about what Ella had done, he realized he didn't need her.

Zane flipped Ella face first into the snow and planted a foot in the middle of her back. "Back up, Cord. Brain matter goes everywhere," he advised. The thought of making Ella disappear made a small part of him very, very happy.

"Wait!" The Valkyrie Anson watched struggled to her knees. Her white, metallic wings shrinking until they were but little things on her upper back.

"I am getting really tired of people demanding that I 'wait'," Zane snapped.

"Please, hear me out, Scion." The Valkyrie finally stood, hands still tied behind her but her proud baring drew Zane's attention.

"I am not a scion," Zane automatically denied.

"You see me, do you not? Unless we allow it, humans never notice us. When we landed we were cloaked… we still are, and yet you behold me without issue. So yes, you are a scion as the oracle has claimed." Oracle? She meant Ella. Zane's growl sounded very animalistic, making everyone startle, even Skyld. He ground his teeth, struggling to bring his anger back under his control. The Valkyrie dropped her gaze and that simple show of submission instantly soothed him.

She continued, "You are the reason why we brought her here. If we had known she had wronged you, she would have been taken into custody and an I.O.N. representative would have been sent to right those wrongs."

Ella attempted to move and Zane pushed his foot harder between her shoulder blades.

"I have been remiss with introductions," The Valkyries said, taking a step closer, her gaze going to Cord. "I am captain of this team of Valkyrie, Saja Bryadotter of the Skaronul line, mother to Cord Rasmussen." She bowed slightly and not to be rude, Zane copied her. "Ella has broken several laws, especially if she has kept the mantles as bargaining tools against the scion bloodlines." Zane frowned as Saja took a couple of steps closer. Anson followed her, his gaze never leaving her as if he was ready to pounce. Zane was gratified that it seemed the members of Crimson Comet had his back, something he wasn't accustomed to.

"You haven't said anything to convince me to let her live," Zane replied coldly.

"She needs to be taken in and questioned. This is bigger than just you. We need to find out how deep the corruption goes and who it has affected. The mantles need to be found and handed over to the bloodlines," Saja argued.

"If there is corruption in this organization, then how do you know they will properly investigate and put to rights what Ella has done? I know nothing about Others or I.O.N. and I do not place my trust lightly." Not that Zane wouldn't be doing his own investigation later. Cord had called Ella an oracle with a reverence reserved for people who wielded great power. What exactly did an oracle do anyway. He was well read enough to know what they did historically but he wasn't willing to bet that definition remained the same over the centuries.

Saja's gaze flicked to Alonzo's unconscious form cradled in Midnight's arms. The cold knot in Zane's stomach intensified and when Saja glanced back at him, something of his fury must have been showing for she flinched before drawing back her shoulders. "Alonzo Cardosa is known to us. He worked with I.O.N. for many years. I suspect you would accept his word more readily."

She wasn't wrong, but Alonzo didn't seem as if he would be waking anytime soon.

Zane looked to Skyld, needing some guidance. As his oldest friend and mentor, he trusted Skyld's judgement. He would rather shoot Ella and be done with her. The issue of these mantles and wronged bloodlines was not his problem to sort out. Yet… Saja made it sound as if a bloodline meant he had more family than he knew about. Or perhaps that was his wishful thinking. Besides, if they questioned Ella, he could find out who else knew of him without him using his dark web contacts. If he used those, then people would think Gentleman the assassin was back in business, and that was the last thing he wanted. Glancing around, his gaze met too many eyes. And it hit him hard, his anonymity was a pipe dream. That realization almost pushed him to shoot Ella out of pure spite.

Ella moved again, as if his prolonged silence meant she could get off the ground. Without even looking at her, Zane put more pressure on her spine. A silent warning that he would break her back without a second thought.

She pounded her fists into the snow. "Are you just going to keep me here all day?"

Zane ignored her and looked back a Skyld. He didn't seem as if he liked the situation anymore than Zane.

"Motherfucker!" Skyld snarled.

Skyld looked to the back door where Raine stood, one of Zane's firearms clutched in both his hands, muzzle pointed at the ground. "Raine, find me a gag," Skyld called. He flipped a latch on his belt and pulled out two more zip ties.

Zane wondered what kind of work Skyld had been doing lately that he had a custom belt made to carry so many ties. Had Skyld retired as well? Zane was saddened to realize he'd been so focused on himself that he hadn't reached out to check up on Skyld.

Kneeling, Skyld secured Ella's hands and feet. Unsurprisingly, Ella struggled, spewing venom and that too Zane tuned out even though he was glad when Raine returned with a sock and curtain tieback for her gag.

"Can we remove the restraints from the Valkyrie?" Cord asked.

Relaxing slightly, Zane finally gave Cord his full attention, seeing how conflicted Cord was. He had to wonder why Cord stood at his side instead of automatically going to the Valkyrie's aid, especially considering his mother was among their number.

"Can you guarantee they won't attack Skyld, Alonzo, or me?" he inquired, curious to how Cord would answer.

"Moder?" Cord raised his voice but didn't take his gaze from Zane's.

"You have my word, Scion. We will not cross swords with the Blood or those under your protection," Saja solemnly replied.

"All right," Zane finally capitulated.

The corner of Cord's handsome mouth twitched into something not quite a smile. "Thank you." Cord stepped closer, but Zane didn't back away, instead looking up as Cord leaned down and brushed his lips over Zane's in a soft, chaste kiss. The whiskers of Cord's beard tickled Zane's skin. "I would never betray you," Cord whispered before stepping away and going to his mother.

Zane stared after him, surprised that Cord's promise rang true.

Skyld threw his arm around Zane's shoulders in a rare show of PDA. Zane was grateful for the contact and leaned into Skyld's side. "When we get a moment to breath, we need to talk."


That was the understate of the decade.


Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two


Chapter Nineteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!